The UK police forces are to receive training on how to use Facebook and Twitter to catch people committing serious crimes, the UK’s Guardian reports.
The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) will overhaul its training modules to include sessions on the social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for detectives.
Detectives will be educated on how to use the social networking sites to gather evidence about the movements and whereabouts of people suspected to be involved in criminal activities.
Updated training exercises also examine how to gather the best information from computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices.
“This programme is a vital part of the career pathway for detectives and the new training covers sensitive areas of policing where limited guidance existed previously,” said deputy chief constable Nick Gargan, acting head of the National Policing Improvement Agency.
He continued: “These improvements are exactly what detectives need to tackle the challenges and complexities of modern policing effectively.”
According to the Guardian, 3,500 student detectives will take the course every year. Nick Gargan believes the new programme will allow recruits to deal with sensitive issues where limited insights were provided previously.
“The changes underline the importance to having a national agency to provide guidance and train detectives to a single high standard so they can work on investigations in any part of the country and give their colleagues and the public the best quality service in fighting crime,” he said.
The revised training also includes new guidance on how best to investigate honour-based violence, record evidence of domestic abuse and tackle rape. There is material linking to a national collection of footprints made by specific shoes as well as how to collect financial information.
The introduction of new training demonstrates the shift in modern policing, just a few weeks back the Greater Manchester Police force began broadcasting every 999 call the force receiving to specific Twitter accounts, allowing users to follow just how much work police forces now have to undertake.
Social networking sites have proved valuable in a number of high-profile cases over the past few months.
Recently, Greater Manchester Police carried out a 24-hour Twitter trial where officers posted details of all the incidents they were called out to in order to highlight the number of call-outs police receive related to ‘social work’, which are not ‘recognised in league tables and measurements’.
The force believes it would be better for police to liaise with social workers and other agencies in one building to tackle problems of this nature. [via Daily Telegraph (UK), Guardian (UK) and Associated Press]